San Francisco Hotels

Discussion in 'California' started by JennB, Apr 19, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    I'm finally traveling to San Fran this September, one of the last of the major US cities I have not visited, and I'm looking for a nice hotel. I won't have a car so good walking/public transport options. Luxury appreciated but it doesn't have to be 5 star, just upper level.

    The most important thing, a view. I really want to be able to look out in awe at the beauty of the city or the bay.

    Budget is pretty flexible. My current hotel programs with status are Marriott, Hilton and Kimpton. Wouldn't mind getting some points with this stay but it's not a deal breaker if not.

    I've looked at the St. Regis, Intercontinental, Ritz, etc and I just can't decide. It's so much easier to choose a hotel in a city that doesn't have so many wonderful properties :p

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. TRAVELSIG
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    For view, the Marriott is very good if you get the right room- however super large convention hotel and thus impersonal. The Intercontinentals both also have very good views- particularly the Mark Hopkins. Fairmont from the tower also has absolutely stunning views. St. Regis- for this price point I would take the Four Seasons. Ritz-Carlton- only if on club level, and do call to confirm you will get a view (I think there are very very few rooms with a good unobstructed view). If view is your strongest criteria- Mandarin Oriental is great- however rooms quite dated, can be expensive, and the area is very quiet on the weekends (in the CBD). Enjoy San Francisco! I really like the decor in the new IC by the way- and the bar (although small) has a great selection. Lastly- Embarcadero has a couple of good options if that is not too far out of the way.
     
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  3. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    Thanks! I think the Mark Hopkins and the Fairmont are at the top of the list now. I'll look around at the locations and details and hopefully figure something out from there. Both look like just what I need.
     
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  4. TRAVELSIG
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    Good Call. Mark Hopkins and the Fairmont are across the street from each other and the cable car passes close by. With the Fairmont- make sure you book in the tower- otherwise risk no views from the main building- with Mark Hopkins remember it is an older hotel- so a lot of very strange room sizes- probably best to phone the hotel direct to get what you want. Fairmont- at least join their Presidents Club program (free) as it will benefit for you with free internet access.
     
  5. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    Already a member :D Don't use it too often but I have it. I can't wait to finally see this part of the country. I've been quite happy with Fairmont stays in Chicago and Boston.
     
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  6. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    A few months ago, I stayed at the St Regis and it was a wonderful experience. (My review with photos is here.)

    More recently I stayed at the Fairmont and the Mark Hopkins and they are both wonderful hotels as well (haven´t yet had time to write up reviews yet, unfortunately). I would probably prefer the location of these two over the St. Regis - the view from the Top of the Mark is fantastic I should add.
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    The Hilton and Marriott have some rooms with nice views, although I'm not sure how much of a view you can guarantee with a reservation. However, they are huge ugly-modern convention hotels that aren't particularly nice. I think it could be a miserable experience to stay in one of these when a big group is taking over the hotel.

    I've never stayed in them but I think Kimpton has a couple interesting good choices in San Francisco.

    I think there are some tourist-oriented chain hotels down by fishermen's wharf where lots of rooms would have a view of the water there, including the infamous seals taking over the docks.
     
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  8. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Both the Mark Hopkins and the Fairmont are pretty old hotels and my impression is that both are overdue for refurbishment. Admittedly, I haven't stayed at either recently.

    The docks that the seals sometimes take over are at Pier 39. I am not aware of any hotel that overlooks that -- anyone else know of one? There are a Sheraton and a Hyatt down by Fisherman's Wharf, but I wouldn't particularly want to stay in that overly-touristed area.
     
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  9. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    Good to know about Marriot and Hilton. I'll be there during the week so I will definitely pass on the possibility of sharing space with a convention. I do like good service and a bit of personality with my hotels. I love Kimptons because they usually fit in my company travel limits and have funky touches and treats like evening wine. Fairmont and the Mark Hopkins are the short list. Touch choice!

    Thanks again for the responses, everyone!
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    I think the Mark Hopkins was rennovated in 2004- there is an interesting article here:
    http://www.howardswright.com/projects/detail/mark-hopkins-hotel/

    The Fairmont is in very good condition- particularly the tower- even though it is an older hotel the rooms are good with the exception of the bathrooms which are spotlessly clean but "old style- think 1980's" (but the view is worth it).

    The seals are pretty much gone from pier 39.

    Fisherman's wharf is not a very nice area to stay in- and particularly as the OP states they are without a car I wouldn't take this as an option.

    Other posters mention Kimpton- good hotels- but none with a view at all that I know of.
     
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  11. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    The Hyatt Regency has some wonderful views---especially from the top floor club. I realize it's not one of "your" brands, but you can often find weekend sales.
     
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  12. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    While it's not part of any of your programs (it's part of the Joie de Vivre group), the Hotel Vitale is a really nice property at the end of Market St, near the Ferry Building. It has great views, and is very convenient to public transportation.
     
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  13. TRAVELSIG
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    Good call ducster. Also a GREAT restaurant in the Hotel Vitale.
     
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  14. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    For a future trip when a boutique property meets your needs, the Vintage Court (home of Masa's Reataurant, just named on the San Pellegrino Top 100 Worldwide Restaurants list) has a good mid-Nob Hill location and has a Napa/wine theme:

    http://www.executivehotels.net/sanfranciscohotel/s_vintage_accommodation.cgi
     
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  15. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    Oooo. Looks very nice. I'm liking that one. Reasonable prices as well. This one is also definitely on the list.The decor is very pleasing.

    Thanks!
     
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  16. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    and since you are a MR member, the Stanford Court is right there at the corner of California and Powell. It is older, and some folks don't like it for that, but I really like the location (where both cable car lines cross) and the hotel, in general.

    You may have to pay for a view (unless you can get an upgrade,) or you'll end up facing the inside of the hotel with a view of the small parking area below.
     
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  17. thrashsoundly
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    I've stayed in the Hyatt Regency with a great view of the Ferry Building and the water. It is also right on top of a BART station which makes easy and cheap access from SFO.
    The Marriott is huge and has great views, but like was mentioned, it's geared toward the convention center crowd.Also close to BART.
    The Westin St. Francis is historic and nice. Many rooms have a neat view overlooking Union Square. It is also often filled up with conference-goers, but it has quick access to all the types of rail. Close to BART
    The Intercontinental down by Moscone was really nice, although I didn't stay very high up and based on its location with the surrounding buildings, wouldn't think the views are super spectacular anyway.
    The Kimpton properties are nice, but won't get you a view as they are short buildings. And as you know, they have free internet which is hard to find with these downtown hotels.

    What do you plan to do in SF? This might give others some idea of the best part of town to stay with access to what you want to do. SF is a neat city and has tons of great places to eat too!
     
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  18. snap
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    snap Silver Member

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    As a Marriott Plat member, the Renaissance Stanford Court is my favorite over the SF Marriott Marquis . The lobby is modern, the rooms are well done and the lounge (open weekdays) has a terrific view. Agree with misman, the location at the intersection of the Powell and California cable car lines is great. Their rates can often be super-affordable (especially with a best rate guarantee) and sometimes include 3-day Muni Passports.

    September and October are the best weather months. Enjoy your visit, JennB!
     
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  19. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    And you can get those Muni Passports in the news-stand in the lobby. They will get you on any cable car, bus, muni train, or street car that is part of the SF mass transit system. Very convenient!

    Note that a Powell facing room is better than a California facing room for the noise value. When getting a room high enough for a view, it may not really matter. But the cable cars run early to quite late, and ring the bell at "Cal & Powell" each time they pass. I didn't notice it as much when facing Powell, but really noticed it facing California.

    They do have a car service that will take you various places, but they won't pick you up. When the car service was not available, I would usually just go to Cal & Powell and pick up whichever was first that was going toward Market. (The California line goes to Embarcadaro, and the Powell lines goes to Union Square.) Once there, I was able to pick up Muni for in-city or BART to head across the Bay.
     
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  20. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    Even better is the newish thing called the Clipper Card. If you're taking BART to and from the airport it's great, mostly because it works on BART, Muni, and all of the other regional transit systems (one thing I used to find maddening was all the different transit systems within the area). It might also get you a discount on the ferry to Sausalito. I took the ferry to Larkspur and I know there was a discount.. I'm not certain about Sausalito. It's not an unlimited pass, but it's great if you'll be doing lots of different things. And you can order it by mail.

    www.clippercard.com
     
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  21. Bay Pisco Shark
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    I would suggest that you do NOT stay at the top of Nob Hill. "Cable car, shmable car" convenient. Bleh, when you have a tourist-hell line waiting to take it back up the hill.

    Most of the Kimpton properties are going to be on the smaller side and not have views.
    I think you'd like the location of the Vitale. You won't be high up in a tower, but if you have a nice bridge and bay view, what more could you ask for?

    I have had decent views at many hotels, including the St. Francis, Intercontinental, Hilton, W, Le Meridien, Westin Market St., and several others. However, status got me the view. At some of these places, you could end up looking at a wall.

    Once again, do not stay at the top of Nob Hill. Here, without a car, you will want to walk a lot, and you don't want the walk to be up and down Nob Hill very often. There also isn't much right out your door.

    I've lived in the area for 26 years. I had a conference at the top of Nob Hill last year - 4 nights. I'd never stayed at the top of Nob Hill previously. My upgraded room at the Mark was lovely and had a great view. Nevertheless, do not stay at the top of Nob Hill.

    I really think you should stay elsewhere than the top of Nob Hill.
     
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  22. wiredboy
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    I grew up in San Francisco and tend to agree. Unless you're into walking up and down a steep hill, or plan to take a cab everywhere, I don't think it's practical. For convenience I'd say Union Sq is the best. I know that the Westin St. Francis and the Grand Hyatt have some rooms with amazing views.
     
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  23. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Another vote here for the Hyatt Regency which is located right across the street from the Embarcadero and next to the cable car last stop at California St.
    [​IMG]
    View from the Regency Club​
    [​IMG]
    The pyramid-shaped HRSF hotel as seen from the Embarcadero. Note the structure on top is the Regency Club. For more photos and reviews, see here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/hyatt-regency-san-francisco.3600/
     
  24. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Ah, yes... Embarcadero 5, if I remember correctly. Used to stay there a bit with my office adjoining, and always loved it. Once I moved up to Nob Hill (the Stanford Court,) I didn't return. I don't see the issue with Nob Hill that others here mentioned... guess it is just personal preference... and yes, I have trodded up Powell more than a few times.
     
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  25. TRAVELSIG
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    Agreed 100%
     
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